• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Eye Witness Testimony

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

1a. Explain what is meant by the term repression (3 marks) b. Explain what is meant by the term flash bulb memory (3 marks) 2a. Outline one explanation of forgetting in STM (3 marks) b. Outline one explanation of forgetting in LTM (3 marks) 3. Outline and evaluate research into eye witness testimony (18 marks) 1a. Repression is forgetting because the memory holds too much emotion to remain conscious. Freud (1901) believed that some forgetting is an unconscious, motivated process. We forget certain memories because they are too psychologically painful to remain conscious. Therefore we repress them (push out) the memory and they remain inaccessible in our unconscious. For example, abuse experienced as a child might be repressed in memory. b. Flashbulb memories are a special kind of episodic memory, which we can vividly recall in great detail (e.g. September the 11th) It is called a flashbulb memory as the memory is recalled in almost photographic detail. They can also be about personal events, such as the birth of a brother. For Flashbulb memories to occur the event must be emotionally significant and are often unexpected. ...read more.

Middle

There are many studies which suggest that EWT is unreliable. Loftus has shown that Eyewitness testimony can be affected by the wording of questions and people's willingness to make the information fit their schemas, which has serious implications for the judicial system since juries are often convinced solely on EWT. Loftus and Palmer (1974) showed the effect of the wording of questions by changing a single verb about the speed of a crashing car. Using the verb 'smashed into' led to a faster speed estimate (41mph) than use of the verb contacted (32mph). Loftus also shows evidence that the style of questioning can dramatically change witness testimonies. Eye witnesses asked about a car passing a barn were later more likely to say they saw a barn, when in fact the barn didn't exist. Loftus believes that in the light of misleading information, the original memory is deleted and replaced by a new false memory. Loftus (1979) also reported a study where participants either saw a man emerge from the lab holding a pen or another holding a paper knife covered in blood. ...read more.

Conclusion

but the errors made were very slightly higher. Many studies have investigated the cognitive interview technique and have found that it provides more accurate information. So perhaps Loftus simply wasn't asking the right questions. Baddeley questions that EWT research is clear cut. He argues that research doesn't prove the deleting of a memory, but interferes with its retrieval. This suggests that reconstructive questioning of witnesses is very important. Yuille & Cutshall (1986) used witnesses of real life crimes, in contrast to Loftus' artificial experiments, and found memories to be accurate, detailed and not easily distorted, so EWT can be reliable. Foster et al (1994) did a study where one group was led to believe a robbery was a real event, and there testimonies would effect the trial, and the other group knew it was just a simulation. Recall was much higher for the first group, showing that knowing there will be consequences creates more accurate memories. In conclusion, EWT can be inaccurate if misleading information is given which is believable and not incredibly significant (e.g. saying a gun instead of a knife) and if witnesses have little reason to distrust it or question it (as in lab experiments). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Cognitive Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Cognitive Psychology essays

  1. A counselling Interview

    (Egan, 1998) Upon reflection this was not the best place to start as the atmosphere initially had lost the rapport forged by unconditional positive regard and effective listening, which led to us back tracking over previously covered points in order to effectively continue.

  2. Describe the application of behaviorist perspectives in health and social care. Describe the application ...

    The cognitive psychological approach was formed in the 1960s. This approach consists of the understanding of attention, memory, perception, information processing, problem solving, thought, language and other aspects of cognition. Piaget who was a Swiss psychologist researched on how to measure intelligence of an individual.

  1. Section B Essay: Eye Witness Testimony

    were more accurate than those who saw the customer holding a cheque. This shows that the presence of a weapon can cause witnesses to be less accurate. Conversely, some psychologist have found that it may not be the presence of a weapon, but the unusualness of the situation that can cause witnesses to be less accurate in their recall.

  2. Report on Psychological Research into Eyewitness Testimony

    So although the data was not quantitative (in that it did not represent the results well numerically), the qualitative detail provided much evidence of the use of schemas that Loftus had hoped for.6 Although it may be argued that the Lost in the Mall experiment wasn't ethical as the participants

  1. Psychology Retrospective Interference coursework

    Condition 2 For the participants allocated in condition 2 which is the synonym condition, hand them Word List 2 with the 10 adjectives (See Appendix) and ask them to learn the list. Say, "Now you will be given a new list of adjectives to remember.

  2. Psychology Report

    * Consent. This was controlled because participants were under the age of 16, so consent from guardians as well as participants were recorded through consent forms. See Appendix 8 for copy of consent form. * Confidentiality. To control this, participants were assured that results would be kept confidential.

  1. Describe and Evaluate Research by E.Loftus into Eye Witness Testimony, the implications of the ...

    The critical question was 'did you see any broken glass?? which was part of a longer series of questions and was placed in a random position on each participants question paper. There was in fact no broken glass in the film.

  2. Eye witness testimony is so unreliable that it should never be used in convicting ...

    They asked participants to estimate the speed of cars in a film with reference to traffic accidents and found the estimated speed was affected by participants being asked how fast the cars were going when they either 'contacted', 'hit', 'bumped', 'collided' or 'smashed' into each other, implying that leading questions affected participants' schemas, influenced them to give the desired answer.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work